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Types of Excavators

July 12, 2023

In the world of heavy equipment, excavators stand tall as the workhorses of construction, mining, and other industries. Here, we unearth their diversity and versatility.

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Types of Excavators

Excavators are capable of performing a multitude of tasks, from digging trenches to demolishing structures. However, not all excavators are created equal. In this article, we will explore the different types of excavators, highlight their unique features and functions, and shed light on the diverse applications for which they are employed.

1. Crawler Excavators

Crawler excavators are also known as track excavators. They are characterized by their robust design and mobility on tracks. These excavators distribute their weight evenly over a large surface area, allowing them to traverse uneven terrains and provide excellent stability. With their ability to operate on soft or muddy ground, crawler excavators are commonly used in projects involving excavation, mining, and forestry. Their large digging capabilities, combined with a wide range of attachments, make them indispensable in heavy-duty applications.

2. Wheel Excavators

Unlike crawler excavators, wheel excavators move on wheels, enabling them to swiftly traverse smoother surfaces. These machines offer greater speed and maneuverability, making them ideal for urban construction sites, road maintenance, and utility work. Wheel excavators often come equipped with outriggers to enhance stability during lifting operations. Their versatility, combined with their ability to drive on public roads, makes them a preferred choice for contractors who need to move their equipment frequently between job sites.

3. Mini Excavators

Mini excavators, also known as compact excavators or mini diggers, are characterized by their smaller size and lower weight. Ranging from 1 to 6 tons, these nimble machines are highly maneuverable and easily transported. Mini excavators excel in projects where space is limited, such as landscaping, residential construction, and utility installations. Equipped with a range of attachments, they can efficiently perform tasks like trenching, grading, and lifting lighter loads.

4. Long Reach Excavators

Long reach excavators, as the name suggests, feature extended arms and booms. These specialized excavators are designed for applications that require extended reach, such as dredging, deep excavation, and slope stabilization. Their extended working range allows them to access areas that are otherwise difficult to reach. Long reach excavators are particularly valuable in projects involving waterways, coastal areas, and deep foundation work.

5. Amphibious Excavators

Amphibious excavators are specifically designed to operate in wetland environments, marshes, and shallow water bodies. Equipped with pontoons or buoyant undercarriages, these excavators offer exceptional buoyancy and stability, enabling them to work in sensitive ecosystems with minimal environmental impact. Amphibious excavators are commonly employed in projects related to wetland restoration, dredging, and aquatic vegetation management.

6. Dragline Excavators

Dragline excavators are enormous machines primarily used in large-scale mining and civil engineering projects. These excavators utilize a hoist system to lift and move heavy materials, such as rocks and soil. Dragline excavators are notable for their immense size and reach, with some models capable of digging depths exceeding 200 feet. Due to their high productivity and efficiency in bulk earthmoving operations, draglines are essential in open-pit mining and major infrastructure projects.

Excavators play an indispensable role and each type brings unique advantages and features that cater to specific applications and environments. From the versatility of crawler and wheel excavators to the agility of mini excavators, and the specialized capabilities of long reach, amphibious, and dragline excavators, the diverse range of excavators ensures that there is always a suitable machine for every project. By understanding the distinctions between these remarkable machines, you'll be able to transform landscapes and bring ambitious visions to life.

Want to know more about excavators? Learn more about key features and capabilities, attachments, plus some advantages and limitations in Excavators: What you need to know. Also, find useful tips on what to look for when buying your next used excavator in this Buying Guide.

Buy a Used Excavator with Black Star

View the used excavators in our inventory that we have available for you to buy now. If you don’t see one here, there might be one listed in one of our upcoming auctions that could meet your needs.

Don't currently see the excavator you’re looking for? Tell us. We may know someone who has it to sell and is just waiting for a buyer. With our extensive network of contacts, it won’t be difficult for us to find an excavator, or any other type of used equipment for you.  

This article is our representation of useful information and is not intended to be a complete guide for making the right decision for your company. Ask our experts - or your own - for specific advice based on your unique circumstances.

Types of Excavators
Andrew LeMaster

Andrew is an accomplished sales leader with a remarkable track record in developing new business relationships and delivering results. With over a decade of experience selling in the heavy equipment and transportation industries, he knows equipment. He also possesses comprehensive knowledge of market dynamics, customer preferences, and sales strategies.

When you decide to sell your equipment,
we will personalize a way forward that benefits you.
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